Posted on 18 October 2019

Protection of Civilians Report | 1 - 14 October 2019

  • On 4 October, a 28-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR) demonstration east of Jabalia (Gaza north), near Israel’s fence with Gaza. Another 20-year-old Palestinian man died on 7 October of wounds sustained during a protest in April 2019. Overall, 210 Palestinians, including 46 children, have been killed in the GMR protests since they started in March 2018. Also, during the reporting period, 261 Palestinians, including 127 children, were injured by Israeli forces in the protests; 48 people were shot with live ammunition. Israeli sources reported that improvised explosive devices, hand grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli forces, and that there were several attempts to breach the fence; no Israeli casualties were reported. In a statement, issued in advance of the 11 October protest organized around the theme of “Our Child Martyrs”, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Jamie McGoldrick, called on Israel and Hamas to protect children, reiterating that “children must never be the target of violence, nor should they be put at risk of violence or encouraged to participate in violence.”
  • On at least 18 occasions outside the context of the GRM, Israeli forces opened fire in the areas adjacent to the fence and off the coast of Gaza, while enforcing access restrictions; no casualties were reported. On another occasion, Israeli forces arrested three Palestinian civilians, including one child, allegedly after they attempted to cross illegally into Israel through the fence.  
  • In the West Bank, 37 Palestinians, including at least two children, were injured by Israeli forces, during protests and clashes. This represents a significant decrease compared with the bi-weekly average of Palestinian injuries since the start of 2019 (129 injuries). Fourteen (14) of the injuries occurred during the weekly protests on Fridays, 4 and 11 October, against settlement expansion and access restrictions in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya). Another ten people were injured in two demonstrations held on 1 and 4 October, near the Beit El/DCO checkpoint (Ramallah), in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. In a separate incident on 5 October, a one-year-old child and a woman were injured due to gas inhalation, and one house was partially burnt, after tear gas canisters landed in their house during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents in Azzun village (Qalqiliya). Overall, nearly half of those injured were treated for tear gas inhalation, 38 per cent as a result of rubber bullets and the remaining due to physical assault and live ammunition.
  • Israeli forces carried out a total of 152 search and arrest operations across the West Bank and arrested 101 Palestinians, including four children. The majority of the operations were in the Ramallah governorate (42), followed by Hebron (35) and Jerusalem (33) governorates. 
  • Citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or forced people to demolish 31 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 52 people and affecting 98 others. The largest incident took place in Jabal al Mukabbir neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where 13 structures, including a home, were targeted; representatives of the affected families reported that they received no demolition orders or prior notice. Also in East Jerusalem, in the Beit Hanina neighborhood, Palestinians were forced to self-demolish three residential buildings, resulting in the displacement of six refugees families; over one quarter of this year’s demolitions in East Jerusalem (46 of 173 structures) were carried out by the Palestinian owners, mainly to avoid paying the municipality the cost of the demolition. One of the eleven structures demolished in Area C was a donor-funded solar panel provided as humanitarian assistance in response to a previous demolition in the community of Shib al Harathat (Hebron). The number of structures demolished so far this year across the West Bank represents an almost 40 per cent increase compared with the equivalent period of 2018. 
  • For five days during the reporting period, on the occasion of Jewish holidays, the Israeli authorities largely halted the movement of Palestinian permit holders, as well as commercial goods, to and from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. An exception was made for emergency medical cases, and in the West Bank also for students and Palestinian employees with international NGOs and UN agencies. The movement of Israelis and Jerusalem ID holders, including settlers, between Israel and the West Bank continued without restriction. Also, due to the Jewish holidays, the Israeli authorities postponed the opening of the West Bank Barrier gates in Tulkarm and Jenin until 23 October, disrupting farmers’ access to their lands for the olive harvest.
  • The olive harvest season, which began in early October, was disrupted in a number of areas by Israeli settler violence. Incidents have included: the physical assault and injury of two Palestinian farmers in Tell (Nablus) and Al Jab’a (Bethlehem); and seven incidents involving the setting on fire to, or vandalizing of around 100 olive trees and the stealing of produce in the villages of Burin (Nablus), Kafr ad Dik (Salfit), Shufa (Tulkarm) and Al Jab’a (Bethlehem).The olive harvest season, which takes place every year between October and November, is a key economic, social and cultural event for Palestinians.
  • Another five settler attacks resulted in Palestinian injuries and property damage. Four Palestinians, including one child and a woman were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city and in the Khirbet al Marajim community. Over 20 vehicles and a few houses were vandalized in two incidents in Qira and Marda villages (both in Salfit), and two vehicles were stoned and damaged in another two separate incidents. So far in 2019, OCHA recorded 243 incidents where Israeli settlers killed or injured Palestinians or damaged Palestinian property, a mild increase compared to the equivalent period of 2018 (213 incidents) but almost double the figure for 2017 (124 incidents).
  • Israeli media reported three incidents of stone-and-Molotov cocktail-throwing attacks by Palestinians at Israeli settler vehicles or houses, none of which resulted in casualties or damage. So far in 2019, OCHA recorded 84 incidents where Palestinians killed or injured Israeli settlers and other Israeli civilians or damaged their property, a decline compared to the number of incidents in the equivalent periods of 2018 (141 incidents) and 2017 (211 incidents).